10 Best Affordable Used Motorcycles You Can Buy!
In The Market For A Used Motorcycle?Try Looking For One Of These!
Updated August 24, 2018
Buying a motorcycle doesn’t have to break the bank: here are our top choices for the best affordable used motorcycles out there. The vast majority of riders don’t have the means to buy a brand new motorcycle straight from their local dealership, and there are plenty of motorcyclists out there who simply prefer to seek out a good used model rather than pay the full factory ticket – but what makes for a good used motorcycle? How do you separate the wheat from the chaff? And what models come highly recommended?
A Quick Guide To Buying A Used Motorcycle
Firstly, a good used motorcycle will come with all of the relevant legal paperwork, it will come with an up to date service history, and most importantly, it should be a runner. Those starting points should go without saying. The seller should be able to answer any question that you might have, and they should do their best to accommodate for any requests you might have. Don’t worry about kicking tires, worry about how the engine sounds instead. Don’t worry about a small scratch on the fairing, worry about whether it starts well with a cold engine. But before you even arrange a viewing with the seller, are you even sure that you’re going to be looking at a model that’s worthy of your time and money?
You’ve seen a bike that falls into your price range, it’s within an acceptable radius from your zip code, but is it even worth buying? The first thing you should consider doing is researching the model online. Check out model-specific forums, try finding a Reddit thread that concerns that particular production year, and check out whether there are any known issues that you might need to factor in to your purchase. Does that ’99 Yamazuki develop serious suspension issues? Are you going to have to fork out an extra $500 reconditioning old parts? These are important things to keep in mind.
While replacement parts might be a reason to haggle the seller down, there may even be times when you want to offer the seller more for a particular model. By doing a bit of research, you might discover that the used motorcycle in front of you might be worth a lot more than the seller’s asking price, and it could be worth your while throwing in a better offer to guarantee you ride away on it. Consider fashion trends, because that cheap 80s sportsbike might be worth a hell of a lot more in the next few years (or at least that’s what we’re hoping for).
If you’re stuck for what to look for, here are the best affordable used motorcycles you can buy in our honest opinion. Better models and deals may be out there, and of course, there will be riders out there who have been bitten by some of these suggestions too…but that’s the nature of the used motorcycle game. So, here are some suggestions to steer you in the right (and affordable) direction.
10 Best Affordable Used Motorcycles You Can Buy!
1994 Honda CBR600F2 – Guide Price: $1,750
Early 90s Hondas are affordable motorcycles and great investments. Built before the advent of modern riding aids, the 1994 Honda CBR600F2 is a motorcycle that comes with the reliability of the Honda brand and without any of those modern complications. While the 900RR is another fantastic option, we’ve found that the 600F2 models generally turn up in the used motorcycles pages more often and at a more affordable price. The engine is a damn near un-killable inline four unit that has an excellent midrange and enough top end poke to keep things interesting. Since it’s a 600, it’s nice and nimble, but not overly sensitive. All in all, it’s a great motorcycle that you can pick up for a very affordable price tag. You can usually find them around the $1500 marker if you’re willing to overlook some rugged bodywork. If you’re lucky to find one without any war scars, you’re a very lucky person indeed. But scars add character, right?
1996 Suzuki GSX-R750 – Guide Price: $2,500
Our guide price for a used ’96 Suzuki GSX-R750 is completely up for debate. We’ve seen them go for next to nothing, and we’ve seen them go for relatively astronomical prices – but while the bike is over twenty years old, it’s still a fantastic option if you’re looking for affordable used motorcycles. Let’s look at the stats: this old girl is powered by a fierce 749cc engine that pushes out an unprecedented 130 hp, all in a package that weighs around 390 lbs. Let’s not forget that this was at a time where bikes were getting more powerful…but getting heavier too. The GSX-R750 bucked that trend and actually managed to blow the competition away with a very favorable power to weight ratio. So, it’s got a good engine but what else? The suspension is good enough but it’s worth factoring in the cost of reconditioning the existing forks if you’re going to buy. The brakes are superb but consider updating the brake lines too. Overall, the ’96 GSX-R750 has pretty poor paintwork, so you should expect to see a few chips and scratches, but that is completely normal. If you can find one for under $3000, you’ve found your next sportsbike.
2002 Yamaha YZF-R1 – Guide Price: $4,000
While you can’t go wrong with any generation of the Yamaha R1, the 2002 edition was the first to come equipped with fuel injection. It wasn’t just the fuel-injection that really pulled the R1 into the 21st century either – thanks to some nice adjustments here and there, the R1’s Deltabox III frame and swingarm became lighter without affecting the chassis structural integrity, improving handling a great deal. With a lighter chassis, an engine that boasted a more powerful midrange, and a few suspension tweaks, the ’02 R1 was one of the best ever made offering a very nice power to weight ratio. It’s not all good though, since the ’02 R1 doesn’t pack the same kind of top end punch as the later models do, and these earlier models are a little lacking in the “extra equipment” department. Fortunately, the ’02 R1 never had the same popularity as its contemporary GSX-R1000 or CBR1000RR, which means they don’t sell for unnecessarily high prices. They’re also pretty cheap because they’re popular track bikes…so make sure the one you’re looking at hasn’t been thrashed to within an inch of its life before you shake hands.
’00 – ’04 Kawasaki Vulcan VN1500 FI Classic – Guide Price: $3,500
And now for something completely different. Buying into the cruiser segment doesn’t have to be an expensive affair. You don’t need to have a Harley-Davidson, and you definitely don’t need all of the merch that goes with that lifestyle choice either. For a fraction of the price of a new Harley, you could invest in a used motorcycle with a different kind of character. The Kawasaki Vulcan Classic is a great choice. Easy on the eyes, reliable, powerful, and with an intimidating road presence too. Boasting 69 hp and 83 lb-ft of torque, this big V-twin is a worthy option. From 2000 onward, the VN1500 Classic came equipped with fuel-injection and we recommend the models from then onward. The older ones aren’t necessarily bad, but the fuel injection system is worth the extra money you’d spend on one of these. Strong, reliable and incredibly fun to ride, we would recommend the Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Classic to someone who wants to enjoy the power of a big cruiser but doesn’t want to pay the hefty price tags that are usually associated with the segment. They often turn up on the used motorcycles pages for around $3,500 – usually with a few custom accessories thrown in too.
2002 Ducati Monster 620ie – Guide Price: $2,500
Ducati’s small Monster is a regular in the used motorcycles department. It’s a fan favorite that has taught many new bikers to ride, and many learners who cut their teeth on the little Monster are often reluctant to part with it, and with good reason. Not only is it a cheap way of buying yourself into the elite Ducati club, but it also offers impressive value for money. For an average used price of around $2,500, you can grab yourself a cool naked bike with a low seat height, decent power delivery, and a lightweight and easy to maneuver chassis. The engine is strong without being overly intimidating and the brakes have more than enough stopping power. The suspension might be a problem for taller and heavier riders, since it’s a little bit basic, but apart from that, this little Ducati Monster is a sound investment. Long term owners have reported very little in the way of major issues, in fact, the largest complaint is that the ’02 model comes with little in the way of extra riding aids. But if you’re happy with good old fashioned braking, and using your head rather than a computer to determine how you ride in the rain, then you shouldn’t encounter any problems save for a few cosmetic issues.
2004 Suzuki SV650S – Guide Price: $3,000
The Suzuki SV650S is the ultimate all-rounder, and if you’re looking for a used motorcycle that can literally do anything, then this one is worth considering. In fact, this is a bike that can punch above its weight on track, make boring day-to-day commutes seem like fun, munch miles with relative ease, and still be one of the most highly recommended used motorcycles for new riders too. You name a job, and you can bet that the Suzuki SV650 is a decent tool for it. The 2004 model is a good one and they often come up cheap. Powered by a tried and tested 645cc v-twin engine that’s boasts 69 hp and a respectable top speed of 123 mph, there’s not a lot wrong with this setup. The aesthetics are a little on the boring side, and many critics weren’t happy about the bikes larger and bulkier dimensions. While they tend to command a low used priced, it’s worth penciling in some extra costs reconditioning the suspension. The Suzuki SV650 is a great tool for a lot of jobs, and it’s because of that reason that some that you see listed for sale might have a few hidden issues – fortunately, it’ll be very rare to find a gremlin in the engine department though.
1998 Honda VFR800 – Guide Price: $3,000
If you can afford to buy a new VFR800, then buy a newer one – but if you can’t, the 1998 model is still an absolute gem. Don’t be fooled by the sports-touring moniker, because the early VFR800s were definitely more sports than tourer, but could do the latter with ease should you feel that way inclined. Armed with a very distinct V4 engine that produces 108 hp, 61 lb-ft of torque and a top speed of 155 mph, the VFR800 is one of those bikes that you could happily ride for the rest of your life and never tire of. However, if you want something that can really scream with the fast-group on a track day, then this isn’t for you. If you manage to find one of these for sale with reasonable mileage and a decent price, then don’t hesitate – just go and buy it. The build quality isn’t as fantastic as you’d think, but it’s still better than quite a lot else on the market, so be prepared to have to tidy a few things up. Known faults include a rectifier issue, but that’s an easy fix with a non-branded part – it’s worth asking the seller about that before you make a sale though, just in case it’s been addressed already. Prices vary for these, but you can pick up a ’98 VFR800 from as little as $3,000 – and lower.
2008 Kawasaki Ninja 250R – Guide Price: $2,300
If big displacement isn’t your thing but you want something sporty and easy to ride, then you should definitely consider the 2008 Kawasaki Ninja 250R. Small capacity Ninjas have been a staple part of the learner bike market for years, and although the modern 300cc version is alright, if you’re trying to keep your costs down, you should really scour the used motorcycles ads for something that’s a little older but just as user-friendly…and a little more fun, in our opinion. The 2008 250R is all of the things that’s cool about the small capacity segment and more. In 2008, the model got a nice overhaul, with revised bodywork, some engine tweaking that introduced more torque in the low and midrange, a bigger wheel at the front, and appropriately upgraded brakes, which really pulled the package into the 21st century. Things were a little more advanced in other regions, but in the US we had to settle with carbureted engines, but that actually works in our favor: these used motorcycles manage to stay cheap because of that. They’re easy to tune, a blast to ride, and come with a very attractive used price tag.
2003 Yamaha YZF-R6 – Guide Price: $3,500
The 2003 Yamaha R6 is a great choice for anyone looking for a supersport motorcycle but doesn’t want to pay modern day price tags. Unlike the CBR600F2, which is good clean fun, this 2003 R6 is an absolute track ripping beast that can catch unsuspecting riders off-guard. The ’03 version was the first R6 model to be given fuel-injection whilst using the old style engine configuration – a configuration that gave this R6 a nice bit of power in the upper mid range that more modern models lack. And since it’s a thoroughbred sports machine, you can get some nice handlebar jiggle when you give it some on the throttle, and nice light steering through the corners too. As far as used motorcycles go, you can do a lot worse that the R6, but make sure you give the one you’re looking at a decent examination. Pay particular attention to the nuts, bolts and fastenings as they are prone to rust up. Fortunately, those are easy fixes. The worst problem you could face would be a gearbox problem, but thankfully they’re quite rare. If you can find one for around $3,500 that hasn’t been completely thrashed, you’re on to a winner.
2005 Suzuki GSX-R1000 – Guide Price: $5,500
Hands down, the 2005 Suzuki GSX-R1000 is one of the greatest used motorcycles that you can buy…if you can find one for sale, and of course, if you can find one for sale at a reasonable price. The 2005 model is universally acclaimed, and because of that very reason many owners have a real hard time parting with them. The 2005 GSX-R1000 enjoyed a slightly larger engine than its predecessors that managed to beef up the horsepower enough to put it into the same bracket as its competition…but even though the specs matched on paper, the GSX-R definitely packed a more powerful punch, or rather, it had more usable power on tap. The engine is one thing, but the handling is out of this world. The steering is light and sharp, and throwing it through corners is an absolute joy. On top of that, the 2005 came with simple but effective ergonomics, upgraded, radial mounted brakes, and the addition of cool alloy controls. As for reliability issues? There are no major issues to report. The 2005 Suzuki GSX-R1000 is one of those absolute treasures that cannot be faulted. Maybe the used price…it would be nice to see the price come down a little, but if you want quality, you’ve got to pay for it.